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'It's up to us to create a new normal' | Rock Island-Milan school district begins new year without COVID restrictions

The 2022-2023 school year is the first to require zero COVID-19 regulations since the start of the pandemic.

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — The Rock Island Academy returned Wednesday, August 3 for its first day of the 2022-2023 school year.

The academy was the Rock Island-Milan School District's choice for a red carpet entrance welcoming the new year.

School principal Tom Ryan said this is the first year where staff and students will have a sense of normalcy. 

"Isn't that refreshing, to be able to breathe air? You have to do whatever it takes to stay safe. So, you know if they say wear masks, we wear masks, but it is really refreshing to start a school year that kind of resembles the old normal. We know the old normal is no more. But it's up to us to create a new normal and we still have follow the guidelines when necessary," Ryan said.

District Superintendent, Dr. Reginald Lawrence said the district will still err on the side of caution.

"There aren't mask restrictions. However, there are mask recommendations, I carry mine in my pocket, too, you know," said Dr. Lawrence. "So, we're going to trust families, we're going to work with families, we're going to follow the guidance. Feel comfortable wearing a mask, you wear your mask, if not, you know, you don't have to wear one."

This is the first school year that there are no Illinois COVID-19 restrictions in place since the pandemic first started. 

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